‘Iowa’s good:’ Ernst, Naig talk biofuel advancements

Source: By Lisa Grouette, Globe Gazette • Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2020

At a press conference in Mason City on Wednesday, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig expressed enthusiasm over recently launched plans to advance biofuel infrastructure projects within the state.

Ernst and Naig, along with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) toured the facilities at Renewable Energy Group in an effort to exchange information about the advancements with Iowa plants.

A bill supporting infrastructure growth was signed into action by President Trump last month after Midwest lawmakers appealed to the administration on behalf of the farm industry.

The expansion will make E15 gasoline available at nearly every gas pump in the country, replacing the E10 blend most state currently consume. “A lot of folks think you can just purchase these products anywhere, but you have to have the infrastructure,” Ernst said. “And part of that is to make sure that E15 can be delivered through the E10 pumps.

“That’s a great thing — more choice at the pump. Consumers will pick up that handle that’s got higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel because it’s cheaper and it’s cleaner burning,” said Naig.

The advancements also bring a change in the issuance “stop-gap” waivers, which energy producers could apply for as an exemption from the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Both senators Ernst and Grassley have both been well-pronounced in their stance as advocators for farmers and Iowa’s grain-energy industry as a whole, and the waivers have been a source of contention for the pair, as the reduction in the use of biofuels by producers directly impacts Iowa’s farm economy.

Grassley said in a statement, “I’ve long worked to support our renewable fuels workers and to ensure the RFS is faithfully implemented. I’m glad to have partnered with Senator Ernst this year to secure the biodiesel tax credit extension, reject gap-year SRE waivers and break down barriers to give consumers the option of E15 at the pump.”

Ernst and Naig agree the time period in which the infrastructure will be functional is relatively short and the state has been on track to implement the changes.

“We’re good,” said Ernst. “Iowa’s good.”